Plastic shopping bags are such a ubiquitous part of everyday life, but most people do not know the full story concerning these disposable hazards. From the manufacturing process through disposal, plastic bags can cause a lot of harm. While reusable bags are a great solution, they do require some maintenance to insure they are clean and safe.
Should We Really Be Using Oil for Bags?
The film used to construct plastic bags is made from oil - a non-renewable resource. There is only a limited amount of oil available so it is wasteful to use it on something like plastic bags since these items end up in landfills or as litter. Americans throw away roughly 100 billion plastic bags a year – this works out to about 12 million barrels of oil that is wasted. Given that on average a plastic bag is only used for about 20 minutes this carelessness seems even more reckless. By comparison one reusable grocery bag will last about 3 – 5 years depending on use, so one reusable bag can eliminate the need for thousands of disposable bags.
Plastic Bags Can Be Recycled But Are They?
Only a mere 2 percent of plastic bags are recycled, leaving an astounding 98 percent of bags to be thrown in the trash or discarded as litter. When bags become litter they are a serious and real danger to animals that can easily mistake the bags as food or can accidently become tangled in them. Plastic bags and other trash kill, injure or harm hundreds of thousands of animals each year – this can throw nature off balance and have a severe impact on the food chain, which should be of serious concern to humans.
To Combat the Plastic Bag Problem Go Reusable with These Tips
To combat the plastic bag problem many cities and even some countries have passed laws that limit or prevent the use of plastic bags. When the disposable option is no longer available, shoppers need to bring their own bags when they head to the store. Reusable shopping bags are good for the environment, but you need to take care to ensure they are good for you and your family, too.
Since reusable bags carry produce and meat they can easily pick up bacteria. It is key to wash reusable bags to prevent the spread of germs. Storage is also important when it comes to your reusable bags. You want to make sure the bags are dry before putting them away and you should ensure the bags are clean before stashing them in the trunk of your car. Storing reusable bags in a vehicle is a great idea because that way you will be sure to bring the bags to the store, but when a car sits in the sun the temperature rises and will essentially incubate any bacteria soaked into the material of the bags. You do not want to use these germ ridden bags to carry food, or really anything for that matter, so taking the time to clean and dry bags on a regular schedule and giving careful thought to where bags are stored can keep your family healthy.